Chief Louis Stevenson has worked to improve the quality of life for the Penuis of Manitoba. He bought hydro, running water and indoor plumbing to the community, and has worked tirelessly for improved housing, education, and economic development. Under his direction, an alcohol and drug abuse shelter, a senior’s centre, a geriatric housing development, and an emergency centre for police, fire and ambulance services have been built. He directed the construction of a mall that boasts a bank, hair salon, gift shop, sporting goods store and RCMP station. He has reduced unemployment by one-third from 90% to 60%, and built 400 new houses. With respect to education, the system is now locally-controlled, there are 351 Peguis students enrolled in post-secondary institutions and 700 students in the local high school. As well, programs are offered for upgrading, business administration, and nursing on the reserve. All of this has been accomplished by advocating for his people’s rights at the local, provincial, national and international levels.
Chief Stevenson was born on the Peguis Reserve in Manitoba in 1950. He attended public school on the reserve and graduated from high school in Winnipeg. He has a Social Counseling Diploma from Lethbridge Community College, and worked as an education councilor in Winnipeg for six years, and for two years on his reserve. Since 1981, he has been the Chief of the Peguis Reserve, and has served as the Interim Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs from 1987-1989. He received an eagle feather in 1990 from the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Confederation. His hobbies include music, reading, and weightlifting. Chief Stevenson and his wife Shirley live on the reserve with their three children and one grandchild.